2021 Indiana Code
Title 29. Probate
Article 1. Probate Code
Chapter 5. Execution and Revocation of Wills
29-1-5-3. Signatures; Counterpart; Video

Universal Citation: IN Code § 29-1-5-3 (2021)

Sec. 3. (a) This section applies to a will executed before, on, or after July 1, 2003. A will, other than a nuncupative will, must be executed by the signature of the testator and of at least two (2) witnesses on:

(1) a will under subsection (b);

(2) a self-proving clause under section 3.1(c) of this chapter; or

(3) a self-proving clause under section 3.1(d) of this chapter.

(b) A will may be attested as follows:

(1) The testator, in the presence of two (2) or more attesting witnesses, shall signify to the witnesses that the instrument is the testator's will and either:

(A) sign the will;

(B) acknowledge the testator's signature already made; or

(C) at the testator's direction and in the testator's presence have someone else sign the testator's name.

(2) The attesting witnesses must sign in the presence of the testator and each other.

An attestation or self-proving clause is not required under this subsection for a valid will.

(c) Under the supervision of an attorney or directed paralegal, the testator and the witnesses may execute and complete the will in two (2) or more original counterparts that exist in a tangible and readable paper form with:

(1) the testator's signature placed on one (1) original counterpart in the presence of attesting witnesses; and

(2) the signatures of the witnesses placed on one (1) or more different counterparts of the same will;

in a tangible and readable paper form. If a will is signed and witnessed in counterparts under this subsection, the testator or an individual acting at the testator's specific direction must physically assemble all of the separately signed paper counterparts of the will and the signatures of the testator and all attesting witnesses not later than five (5) business days after all the paper counterparts have been signed by the testator and witnesses. If the testator directs another individual to assemble the separate, signed paper counterparts of the will into a single composite paper document, the five (5) business day period does not commence until the compiling individual receives all of the separately signed paper counterparts. Any scanned copy or photocopy of the composite document containing all signatures shall be treated as validly signed under this section and may be electronically filed to offer the will for probate under IC 29-1-7. If the testator dies after executing a will under this subsection but before the separate counterparts are assembled into a single composite paper document, the intervening death of the testator shall not affect the validity of the will.

(d) An attorney or directed paralegal must supervise the execution of a will that is signed and witnessed in counterparts as described in subsection (c). An attorney or directed paralegal may supervise the execution of a will in counterparts even if the supervising attorney or directed paralegal is one (1) of the will's attesting witnesses. When an attorney or directed paralegal supervises the execution of a will in counterparts as described in subsection (c), the attorney or directed paralegal must sign, date, and complete an affidavit of compliance within a reasonable time after all paper counterparts of the will have been signed by the testator and the witnesses. An affidavit of compliance under this subsection must be sworn or affirmed by the signing attorney or directed paralegal under the penalties of perjury and must contain the following information:

(1) The name and residence address of the testator.

(2) The name and:

(A) residential address; or

(B) business address;

for each witness who signs the will.

(3) The address, city, and state in which the testator was physically located at the time the testator signed an original counterpart of the will.

(4) The city and state in which each attesting witness was physically located when the witness signed an original counterpart of the will as a witness.

(5) A description of the method and form of identification used to confirm the identity of the testator to the witnesses and to the supervising attorney or directed paralegal, as applicable.

(6) A description of the audiovisual technology or other method used by the supervising attorney or paralegal, as applicable, the testator, and the witnesses for the purpose of interacting with each other in real time during the signing process.

(7) A description of the method used by the testator and the witnesses to identify the location of each page break within the text of the will and to confirm that the separate paper counterparts of the will were identical in content.

(8) A general description of how and when the attorney or paralegal, as applicable, physically combined the separate, signed paper counterparts of the will into a single composite paper document containing the will, the signature of the testator, and the signatures of all attesting witnesses.

(9) The name, business or residence address, and telephone number of the attorney or directed paralegal who supervised the execution and witnessing of the will in counterparts.

(10) Any other information that the supervising attorney or directed paralegal, as applicable, considers to be material with respect to:

(A) the testator's capacity to sign a valid will; and

(B) the testator's and witnesses' compliance with subsection (c).

(e) When a party files a petition under IC 29-1-7 to probate a will that was executed and witnessed in counterparts under subsection (c), the party shall file a true copy of the affidavit of compliance under subsection (d) with the petition or at any time ordered by the court. A party who files a copy of the affidavit of compliance may redact private information from the affidavit in a manner consistent with Rule 5 of the Indiana Rules on Access to Court Records. If a will is executed and witnessed in counterparts under subsection (c) but without the supervision of an attorney or directed paralegal and that will is later offered for probate under IC 29-1-7, the will is voidable in the discretion of the court, upon objection to probate filed under IC 29-1-7-16, or upon a timely filed will contest under IC 2-29-7-17.

(f) A will that is executed substantially in compliance with subsection (b) will not be rendered invalid by the existence of:

(1) an attestation or self-proving clause or other language; or

(2) additional signatures;

not required by subsection (b).

(g) A will executed in accordance with subsection (b) is self-proved if the witness signatures follow an attestation or self-proving clause or other declaration indicating in substance the facts set forth in section 3.1(c) or 3.1(d) of this chapter.

(h) This section shall be construed in favor of effectuating the testator's intent to make a valid will.

Formerly: Acts 1953, c.112, s.503; Acts 1975, P.L.288, SEC.4. As amended by Acts 1978, P.L.132, SEC.2; P.L.273-1983, SEC.1; P.L.273-1985, SEC.1; P.L.262-1989, SEC.1; P.L.4-2003, SEC.1; P.L.176-2003, SEC.6; P.L.185-2021, SEC.2.

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